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Is the Viral Bowl Method for Curly Hair Worth the Time?

July 6, 2022

1 Min read

Anyone with curly hair knows—if you see a new trend that promises defined, frizz-free curls, you’re going to try it. One you may have seen recently on TikTok? The bowl method for curly hair. This trendy styling hack involves, yep, a bowl as the star of the routine. Those who swear by it are convinced it helps lock in moisture, reduces frizz, and helps evenly distribute product making for more defined curls. But as you’ll learn below, it’s not a quick trick for your arsenal, it can actually be a bit time consuming. 

We spoke to Marissa Ryan, salon owner of Emerald & Ivy Hair Co. to learn how the curly bowl method works and break it down so you can give it a try.

Like the name suggests, it involves dunking your hair in a bowl of water as part of the styling process. It also alleviates the need to stand under the shower that other curly hair methods require, where you risk rinsing too much product out of your hair.

On your next hair wash day, use shampoo and conditioner as normal. Once your hair is clean, apply a leave-in conditioner, curl cream and optional gel. Ryan suggests using a curl cream and then topping with a gel, which she says ensures the most frizz control. “Whatever you do, make sure that you are putting your curl products on soaking wet hair,” she says.

Next, over your bowl of water, comb the hair to detangle. Then, dunk the front of your hair in the bowl, lift your head up and scrunch. Repeat with each side of your hair, then repeat the whole process once or twice more. You’ll typically see people on TikTok completing two to four rounds of this method per side.

Let your hair air dry completely or diffuse. If you use gel, you’ll want to gently shake or use your fingers to break up your curls.

How long does the bowl method take?

This technique isn’t as simple as putting in styling cream and letting air dry. Since you need to scrunch to make sure you form curl “clumps,” be sure you add some extra time to your hair routine.

“I would keep in mind that this technique takes both patience and time,” Ryan says. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes from start to finish, depending on your hair length and thickness as well as your experience using this method. 

And if you want to let your hair air-dry, you’ll need to account for a long drying time as your hair will be soaking wet. TikTok creator makenzieandmalia has seriously amazing results using this method, but noted that it took around 2.5 hours for her hair to air dry.  

Why does the curly bowl method work?

For starters, when you use this method, it keeps the hair extra wet throughout the process. This ensures that the hair is moisturized and you can get more defined, frizz-free curls, Ryan explains. Bonus: it also dilutes the product so it evenly distributes to each hair strand. Since this way of styling can help to lock in moisture, it can add some extra oomph to both curly and wavy hair types. (You’ll find plenty of TikToks of people discovering they actually have curly or wavy hair by giving the bowl method a try.)

If this method doesn’t work the first time, don’t get discouraged. It can be tricky to figure out the right amount of product to use in your hair and it’s a bit of trial and error to finesse how many rounds of dunking and squeezing out your hair gives you the best results. 

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